American Eve: Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White, the Birth of the “It” Girl and the Crime of the Century

Paula Uruburu dives into the historical record and various memoirs of the main characters to pull together a comprehensive and entertaining recap of the murder of Stanford White by Harry Thaw in front of hundreds of people on June 25, 1906 in Madison Square Garden (the original one). As Harry shoots Stanford, he shouts that he’s done it because Stanford “ruined his wife.” This is a reference to the fact that Stannie took advantage of underaged beauty, Evelyn Nesbit and eventually raped her virginity away. Thaw had already been obsessed by White, building a case for Comstock on White’s luring of nubile chorus girls. Thaw aggressively pursues Nesbit, and on one particularly gruesome night in Europe, he makes her confess what White did to her. Thaw then goes on to brutally whip and rape her himself a few weeks later in an abandoned castle he’s rented for a few weeks. It’s a stark tale of the excesses that money could buy during a time when the haves were flaunting it in front of the have-nots, a pre-income tax era where Thaw pays for a drink at the bar with a $100 bill and walks away without his change. Very brutal treatment of Evelyn in the press during the murder trial(s). She never escapes the rumors or ruin to her reputation.